Adult Children of Alcoholics uses the words of fellowship co-founder Tony A. as a foundation to define the Adult Child personality. An Adult Child is someone who responds to adult situations with self doubt, self-blame, or a sense of being wrong or inferior, all learned from stages of childhood. Without help, we unknowingly operate with ineffective thoughts and judgments as adults. The regression can be subtle, but it is there, sabotaging our decisions and relationships.
“The concept of Adult Child came from the Alateens who began the Hope for Adult Children of Alcoholics meeting. The original members of our fellowship, who were over eighteen years old, were adults; but as children they grew up in alcoholic homes.
“Adult Child also means that when confronted, we regress to a stage in our childhood.”
ACA History – an interview with Tony A., 1992
In addition to alcoholic and addicted families, there are at least five other family types that can produce Adult Children:
- Homes with mental illness in the parents(s).
- Homes with hypochondriac parent(s).
- Homes with ritualistic beliefs, harsh punishment and extreme secretiveness, often with ultra-religious, militaristic, or sadistic overtones. Some of these homes expose children to battery and other forms of criminal abuse.
- Homes with covert or actual sexual abuse, including incest and inappropriate touching or dress by the parent(s).
- Perfectionist, shaming homes in which expectations are often too high and praise is typically tied to an accomplishment rather than given freely.
Am I an Adult Child?
You might use the following pages to learn if and how alcoholism or other family dysfunction affected you: